Decidere: The Power of Decision
(Image Credit: Lucy Glover of Lucy Glover Photography, San Francisco, CA)
I committed to a decision today. It was a big decision — one that’s been hanging over my head for many months. I am certain that this decision will impact the rest of my life, and it’s so personal, I can’t even reveal to you what it is! But let me just say that it was a very difficult decision to make, mainly because it requires me to accept that other people are not going to change their behavior for me to get what I really want. All I can change… is me.
My ego had to get out of the way. I have to be selfless to pull this off, and I had to be selfless to say “I’m making this decision!” in the first place. My ego’s been scared.
In fact, I thought I got rid of the need to make this decision in the spring. I was wrong. It came back to me, like a boomerang, saying “You can’t do that! You’re going to have to deal with me.” Sigh… back to the drawing board.
“There are four purposes of improvement: easier, better, faster, and cheaper. These four goals appear in the order of priority.” – Shigeo Shingo
The word “decision” comes from the Latin decidere – to “cut off all other options.” This might seem drastic, but once you cut off all potential for doing or thinking or being any way that does not align with your DECISION, your life instantly becomes easier – the first and most significant element of Shingo’s conceptualization of improvement.
Decisions make things easier. Even the Harvard Business Review recognizes that “making too many decisions about mundane details is a waste of a limited resource: your mental energy.” In their September 19, 2012 post entitled “Boring is Productive,” Robert C. Pozen notes that President Obama wears the same suits and eats the same breakfast to “routinize the routine” and give him more energy to make more significant decisions.
Being submerged in a continual stream of decisions not only weakens mental energy, but depletes emotional reserves (and willpower) too. I’m tired of being continually depleted of my emotional reserves. I had become so tired, that I had to make a decision about who I want to be. I’ve been afraid of getting hurt. I’ve been afraid of being abandoned. (And a lot of these feelings are rather tangential to the actual issue at hand… everything’s just all conflated inside of me.)
I’ve been worried about making the wrong decision – about settling for something that’s less than what I know I really want, deep down on the inside. That’s why I’ve kept my options open… whyI haven’t cut off other options… so if a new opportunity comes around, I’m poised to capture it. I am not one to wait for the dandelion promises of an uncertain future, especially when those promises are made or implied by other people. All I have to depend on, really, is what’s inside of me – my state of being right now.
Part of me has been hesitant, thinking “if I make this decision, I’m accepting the things around me that I don’t like.” But then I realized that the decision and the external circumstances are not quite as entangled with one another as I might think. By making the decision, I’m changing everything around me, because I’m changing me.
“For so long most of us have used the term ‘decision’ so loosely that it’s come to describe something like a wish list. Instead of making decisions, we keep stating preferences… Making a true decision means committing to achieving a result, and then cutting yourself off from any other possibility.” — Tony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within
Is there a decision hanging over you that’s sucking up your emotional energy? If you’re afraid of making the wrong decision, choose a “set point” in the future where you will allow yourself to revise your decision, to change the contract – and adjust, if appropriate. Make sure you give yourself enough time to get completely into the feel of your decision. And to watch the world around you adjust to your decision.
Make the decision.
Cut off any other possibilities.
Move forward and don’t look back.
Be IN the decision. Be a part of it. Invite it to become part of you…
…at least for a while, until maybe your “set point” date in the future.
But I guarantee you, when that day comes, the external environment will look so different that the reason you had to make the decision in the first place could have evaporated completely. The scene will have changed, along with the scenery, and perhaps even the actors.
And then you’ll probably be faced with another decision : )